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Big banners on their homepage (see above) proudly proclaiming 50,000 Bonus Points sounds great on the face of it – but all that glitters is most definitely not gold in this case!
The details are as follows:
- Earn 5,000 bonus Gold Points after completing 2 Eligible Nights
- Earn an additional 10,000 bonus Gold Points after completing 5 Eligible Nights
- Earn another 10,000 bonus Gold Points after completing 10 Eligible Nights
- Earn a final 25,000 bonus Gold Points after completing 15 or more Eligible Nights
What this means is that in order to earn the 50,000 Points you need to stay 15 nights, which makes the bonus worth a miserly maximum of just 3,333 Points per night.
I used to be a pretty big fan of the Club Carlson loyalty programme, as it consistently offered great bonuses and good value redemption options, along with solid status recognition and very good standard earning rates.
Status recognition is still fine, and the standard Points earning rate is still competitive (20 Gold Points per $1.00 USD), but there was a significant devaluation last year with almost all the best properties now requiring 70,000 rather than 50,000 Points per night.
There has also been a creep upwards in award category for a lot European properties, meaning that bargain nights at decent hotels for just 9,000 (Category 1) or 15,000 (Category 2), are now much harder to find. Category 3 properties require 28,000 Points per night, so although a hotel going up one or two categories might not sound that bad, it actually means the number of points needed has basically doubled or more.
In terms of the bonuses, the decline in generosity has been dramatic over the last year or so and this might well be the worst offer yet.
It really wasn’t very long ago that Club Carlson’s bonus offers usually worked out at about 10,000+ extra Points per night, and a couple of years before that there was even an offer of 50,000 Points for staying just one night!
When you factor in the devaluation, which means you now need 40% more Points (70,000 rather than 50,000) for Club Carlson’s best properties, it makes the new offer very difficult to get excited about.
Putting a valuation on Points is tricky, but I used to use most of my Club Carlson Gold Points at top category hotels like the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, and I think it’s fair to value a nice hotel in the centre of a major capital city at about £200.00 per night. That would value Gold Points these days at about 0.285 pence each (£200.00 / 70,000 Points = 0.285 pence per Point).
This means that (if you stay the full 15 nights), the current bonus is worth something like £9.50 per night.
If you have a lot of cheap stays coming up during the promotion you might want to consider Club Carlson and it definitely makes sense to register anyway, but most people will be better off pursuing other options like the latest Hyatt promotion, Accor Sale + 15% Cashback, Rocketmiles, or waiting to see what the other chains offer.
I understand Club Carlson may have been a little too generous before and are tightening up, but promotions like this just aren’t compelling enough to encourage me to stay at their hotels. How about you?